An Online College Degree in no Time: Fund your way through school with student financial aid
By Kimberly Diane
There are hundreds of resources available to students who want to continue their education and receive an online degree but are unable to pay for it up front. Whatever route you’re choosing for student financial aid – an unpaid monetary gift or re-paid financial assistance – funding your way through school is achievable. Money no longer needs to be a factor in your decision to return or even go to school the first time around!
To decide which type of student financial aid would suit your educational pursuits, the following information on loans and scholarships should come in handy. Before enrolling at any school to acquire your online college degree, however, you need to make sure that it’s accredited, the degree program you’re interested in is eligible for student financial aid, and you’ve discussed your situation with the college’s representatives in the financial aid office.
FAFSA: Student Financial Aid
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is an office of the U.S. Department of Education that provides student financial aid or monetary assistance to eligible individuals who wish to continue their educations well beyond high school and receive a traditional or online college degree. FAFSA strives to encourage all Americans to achieve a higher education and realize the power that it has within our society.
By partnering with a large number of postsecondary schools in the U.S., FAFSA is able to play a vital role in ensuring that interested individuals have ample student financial aid to continue their schooling and receive an online college degree. The program, which processes 14 million applicants each year, distributes more than $80 billion per year in student financial aid to eligible applicants (1). To apply online or learn more, please visit www.FAFSA.ed.gov.
In essence, student loans are low-interest monetary assistance from the government to help cover the cost of education (tuition) as well as books, housing, and incidentals. However, upon graduation and receipt of your online college degree, the loan must be re-paid. There are three types of student loans: federal student loans doled out to the students themselves; federal student loans to parents, which are normally referred to as PLUS (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students); and private student loans, which are funded by banks and/or financial companies rather than the government.
Advocates for private student loans say that this type of student financial aid combines the best of the low-interest rates, but with a higher loan amount and a longer grace period. Private loans have two methods of disbursement of funds – school to channel (money is distributed to the school) and direct to consumer (money is given to the individual to use as he or she sees fit). Before deciding which type of loan is appropriate for your particular situation, do your homework! Federal student loans require that you are enrolled in college for a certain amount of hours each semester, while private student loans begin accruing interest rather quickly (2).
Loan Forgiveness Programs
While loan forgiveness is not necessarily a way to fund your way through school, it is an excellent way to eliminate your loan debt quickly once you’ve received your traditional or online college degree. The government has devised a way to purge most (and sometimes all) debt for students who involve themselves in community or military service or work for AmeriCorps. Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), Teach forAmerica, Peace Corps, National Health Service Corps, or teach students in a low-income area (3).
Most of these programs, which serve underprivileged families and individuals, will forgive a large portion of your loan debt is you work full-time upon graduation. The National Health Service Corps, for instance, pays up $25,000 per year towards your debt. To learn more, visit the Sallie Mae website.
Attend the college of your choice and acquire your online college degree – for free! How is that possible? Student financial aid in the form of scholarships from organizations, clubs, and fund programs all over theUnited States offer billions of dollars to students around the nation to help them realize their dreams. Scholarships recognize scholastic achievements or merits, while some focus on personal interests, community involvement, and/or financial need. You may be required to write at length on a topic or simply submit some detailed information on your educational interests.
Best of all, scholarships are free money in your pocket – you do not have to re-pay this gift! To learn more about scholarships or to find a few that may be of interest to you, please visit www.fastweb.com.
Realize your Dreams with an Online College Degree
If you receive a loan, the important thing to keep in mind is that you’ve been given more money than needed. Try not to spend it all; tuck some away and save it for when you must begin re-paying the loan. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a large loan bill each month (with all the interest to boot). If you’ve received a few scholarships or other type of student financial aid, congratulations! This money is yours and you can do what you wish with it. You are off the hook and are released from re-paying these generous contributions to your educational pursuits to receive an online college degree.
Regardless which student financial aid route you decide to take, enrolling in college, learning all you can, and acquiring you online college degree are things to be proud of!